World Heritage UK responds to draft National Planning Framework

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WORLD HERITAGE UK’S RESPONSE TO DRAFT REVISED NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLAND

 

cityscape St Pauls and The Shard

The Government’s planning policies for England are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The Government has recently announced its intention to revise the Framework and has consulted on a draft revision.  World Heritage UK (WH:UK) responded to the consultation.

As a State Party to the World Heritage Convention, the United Kingdom is required to protect, preserve, present and transmit to future generations its World Heritage Sites.  It does this primarily through its planning systems. In the last 18 months, WH:UK has been working to suggest how the UK’s planning systems could be improved further to meet these responsibilities.   It based its response to the Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework largely on this work.

In its response, WH:UK pointed out that England’s World Heritage Sites include a wide range of historic monuments and past industry, landscapes, townscapes, and natural and ecological features.  Therefore they will be affected by many of the policies in the NPPF. They cannot be treated as a single homogenous entity.

The full text of WH:UK’s response can be found under Correspondence and Consultations on its website Response to draft NPPF May 18 – resubmission final.

The key points in WH:UK’s response are:

  • Recognition.  WH:UK welcomes the recognition given to the protection of World Heritage Sites in various places in the Draft Revised NPPF.  It urges that, in due course, such protection should be enshrined in primary legislation.
  • Development Plans. WHUK strongly disagrees with the proposed changes to the nature of the “development plan”.   The Draft Revised NPPF states that, while local planning authorities will be obliged to produce a plan that addresses the strategic priorities for their area, there would be no obligation on them to produce more detailed policies in a Local Plan.   However Local Plans contain the very policies that currently protect, preserve and help present World Heritage Sites. They cover issues such as good design, the type of development that is or is not acceptable at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites, the protection of Sites’ settings and/ro buffer zones and the promotion of conservation.   It cannot be assumed that local authorities will voluntarily produce local plans. If they do not, this would severely weaken the effectiveness of the planning system in helping to deliver the State Party’s obligations on World Heritage Sites.
  • Pre-application engagement. WH:UK welcomes the continuing support for pre-application engagement.  It has encouraged its members to be more actively involved in decision-making processes and recognises the value of early dialogue.
  • Economic value of World Heritage Sites. WH:UK suggested that the NPPF should recognise the economic value of World Heritage Sites both locally and nationally.
  • Good design. WH:UK strongly supports the encouragement of good design.  It does not agree that it would be acceptable for increased densities to overrule local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting.  Such an approach could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site or its setting and/or buffer zone, all as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.
  • Green Belt. Similarly, while WH:UK understands the need to make best use of urban land and to protect the Green Belt, it is important to appreciate that this policy approach can threaten the Outstanding Universal Value and/or setting/buffer zone of some World Heritage Sites by increasing development pressures within urban areas.    This is a question of priorities, which the Revised Draft NPPF does not resolve. Instead it states that development in Green Belts may be approved in “very special circumstances” while “Substantial harm or loss of …World Heritage Sites should be wholly exceptional.” WH:UK believes that, given their worldwide importance, World Heritage Sites should take precedence over Green Belts, and therefore there may be circumstances where it would be appropriate to review Green Belt boundaries to relieve development pressures at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites.
  • Natural World Heritage Sites.  WH:UK is seriously disappointed that the chapter on conserving and enhancing the natural environment does not recognise or set out policies for England’s natural World Heritage Site (the Dorset and East Devon Coast) or any such sites that may be inscribed in the future. The existence of such sites is recognised only in a footnote in the chapter on conserving and enhancing the historic environment, and then no indication is given as to whether the policies applicable to World Heritage Sites in that chapter apply to natural sites.  Nevertheless, WH:UK warmly welcomes the new reference in the first paragraph of that chapter to World Heritage Sites, which provides a clear signal in respect of the Sites’ importance.
  • Heritage Impact Assessments. WH:UK  strongly encourages the use of Heritage Impact Assessments to help local planning authorities determine development proposals, and considers these should be mentioned in the NPPF.
  • Development within World Heritage Sites. WH:UK supports of the proposed retention of the requirement on local authorities to “look for opportunities for new development within World Heritage Sites…to enhance or better reveal their significance;” while recognizing that not all elements of a World Heritage Site will necessarily contribute to its significance.
  • Minerals development. World Heritage UK welcomes the continued protection of World Heritage Sites through the provision of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside these areas as far as is practical.  However that protection should also be applied to areas that form part of the setting and /or the buffer zone of Sites, as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.  Also the text addressing the issues on oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction is very weak in relation to heritage issues. In this respect, WH:UK advocates a similar approach as for non-energy minerals.

Author credit: Donald Gobbett, World Heritage UK Board Member

World Heritage UK Welcomes Change of Mood on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site

Advocacy, Announcement, Culture, Liverpool, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK
800px-Liverpool_skyline,_closeup

Liverpool World Heritage Site Credit: Wikipedia commons

 

Liverpool’s World Heritage Site has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites ‘in danger’ since 2012.  UNESCO’s primary concern has centred on the tall buildings in the ‘Liverpool Waters’ development proposal, put forward by Peel Holdings, which was given outline planning permission in 2012.  The perceived negative impact of these proposed tall buildings was on long distance views of the Liverpool skyline from the other bank of the Mersey.  Of particular concern, it appears, were the tall buildings proposed for the former Clarence Dock site, which is within the World Heritage Site buffer zone.

See also: https://lbndaily.co.uk/world-heritage-uk-backs-liverpools-push-preserve-world-heritage-status/

https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/heritage-body-takes-up-liverpools-case/

World Heritage UK, the body representing all 31 UK World Heritage Sites, is aware that in response to UNESCO’s concerns, Liverpool City Council and Peel Holdings have together recently taken three positive initiatives to minimise the risk of Liverpool losing World Heritage Status and to ultimately take it off the ‘endangered’ list.  These include a new high level task force to raise the profile of the World Heritage Site and address the concerns raised by UNESCO; a ‘Desired State of Conservation Report’ to set out their view of the city’s World Heritage status as it stands; and a review of the master plan for the Liverpool Waters area, where in fact no new development has actually taken place since outline permission was granted in 2012.

From its national perspective, World Heritage UK warmly welcomes all these initiatives and believes that they signal a genuine change of mood in Liverpool.  On behalf of all of the UK’s World Heritage Sites, we ask UNESCO to open a process of constructive dialogue with the UK Government and Liverpool’s stakeholders, in the hope that this will lead to a change in the position they have previously taken on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.  We further hope that, as the ‘State Party’, the Government will fully engage with the process, thus enabling then to fulfil their international obligations and responsibilities under the World Heritage Convention for the protection and enhancement of the outstanding universal value of all the UK’s World Heritage Sites, not least Liverpool.

As Liverpool’s ‘Desired State of Conservation Report’ notes, there has been spectacular progress in restoring Liverpool’s historic buildings, in the World Heritage Site and beyond. The number of heritage ‘buildings at risk’ has been reduced to only 2.75% of the building stock – far below the UK national average. The restoration of the once derelict Stanley Dock for a new hotel and residential accommodation is a shining example of achievement and work in progress.

World Heritage UK has been briefed on the initial work on Peel’s revised masterplan for Liverpool Waters.

Chris Blandford, World Heritage UK President, said: ‘Whilst the revised plan is still at an early stage, we believe that it has the potential to deliver a far more coherent, sensitive and appropriate development form, one which better respects the Site’s outstanding universal value, and is better integrated with Stanley Dock and the adjacent Ten Streets regeneration area’.

Sam Rose, World Heritage UK Chair, said: ‘Cities grow and change, as they always have done, and there will always be conflicts and tensions in the protection of the outstanding universal value of urban World Heritage Sites. We see no situation that is not resolvable with early and constructive dialogue, and we encourage that now in the case of Liverpool.  It would be a big loss for the outstanding heritage of the UK, and for the people and businesses of Liverpool if this iconic city was to lose its deserved global status’.

The UK has six World Heritage Sites that fall into the ‘cities’ theme, the largest and most complex three being Bath, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

Meeting the Minister

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WP_20171018_10_53_51_Pro (2)

World Heritage UK’s Chair and President have met with John Glen, the Under Secretary of State for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism at Whitehall in London. Sam Rose and Chris Blandford introduced the Minister to the goals of World Heritage UK and a range of issues were discussed. One of the significant outcomes was an invitation to meet with a senior representative of Visit Britain, a meeting which will take place next week.

Seen here with one of Visit Britain’s ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign posters, the UK’s 31 globally recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites should fit nicely into this theme.

‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference tickets deadline #communicatingwh

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Communicating World Heritage Conference

7-10 October 2017

Enginuity, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, UK

Bookings close on 29th September!

www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets

There are just a few weeks left to book for the eagerly anticipated Communicating World Heritage Conference which will take place at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site from 7 to 10 October 2017. Tickets for the conference, and accommodation close to the venue, are being booked up quickly so don’t miss your chance to join a growing group of professionals, academics and practitioners to explore the many ways of communicating World Heritage to a variety of audiences, and discuss the latest research and global policy in relation to key themes such as World Heritage tourism, communities, education and specialist groups.

With conference tickets and local accommodation selling quickly, it’s best to book early. Take a look at the programme on our website to find out more about the speakers and sessions. Of course, within the programme there will be plenty of opportunity to network with colleagues, enjoy   informal drinks, conference dinner and walking tours to be announced.

Programme Highlights

We are delighted to be welcoming such a diverse and exciting group of speakers from organisations such as UNESCO, Historic England and the Heritage Alliance, as well as leading academics from around the world. Their specialist knowledge and expertise will provide a unique cross-disciplinary perspective on the communication of World Heritage, and a range of interesting talking points for colleagues throughout the conference.

Our full programme is available on the conference website, and a few of the many highlights over the four days include:

Michael Di Giovine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Professor Di Giovani will present “Communicating Sustainability through World Heritage Tourism,” examining the ways in which world heritage practitioners can engage with tourism to communicate sustainability values to a diversity of audiences. (Saturday 7th October).

Dr. Sophia Labadi, Senior Lecturer and co-Director of the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent (UK). Dr Labadi will present the paper “For Everyone? Communicating World Heritage values and Stake Holders.” This presentation will explore how the World Heritage terminology is difficult to understand, even for specialists, making it even more difficult to communicate to the public. There will be a focus on how communities are increasingly associating World Heritage with exclusions and how these communities have acted upon these exclusionary trends. Finally, Dr Labadi will examine the approaches that aim to bring about solutions to these issues. (Sunday 8th October)

Andrew Stokes, England Director for Visit England will join the join the ‘Heritage Leaders’ session to present the latest information on the value of World Heritage to the tourism market and how this can be communicated. (Monday 9th October).

Mr Bo Jiang, Vice President of ICOMOS-China and Mr Yimeng Zhang, Great Wall Protection Project at the China Academy of Cultural Heritage, will be giving presentations about two icons of World Heritage, the Silk Road and the Great Wall of China. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers from this country on their specialist subjects and will provide great insight into communicating World Heritage with the wider world. (Tuesday 10th October).

 

To book your place, please visit www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets

UK military cultural property protection to feature at #communicatingworldheritage conference

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Lt.Col. Tim Purbrick
At a period when many of us are troubled by the destruction of World Heritage in various parts of the world, it is timely that “Communicating World Heritage” conference delegates will be hearing from this latest of our confirmed guest speakers.  We are delighted to welcome Lt. Col. Tim Purbrick to speak at the  conference on the 9th October, at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. The Ministry of Defence is an impressive addition to the conference programme and will form part of the “Communicating with Governments and the public sector” session.
Lt. Col. Purbrick is the SO1 Cultural Property Protection at Army HQ. This is a new appointment as the Armed Forces move to deliver against the obligations of the Hague Convention (1954). His conference presentation will be “Delivering a Military Cultural Property Protection Capability”.
Tickets for the conference are still available at www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com

Culturally Natural? – report launch announced at #communicatingWH conference

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Sarah France from the National Trust’s World Heritage Site at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park and geologist Jonathan Larwood from Natural England have been working on the links between culture and nature in the UK’s World Heritage Sites for some time now. At last, the report of the ‘Culturally Natural or Naturally Cultural?’ workshop held at Fountains Abbey is ready and will be launched at the ‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference on 9th and 10th October at Ironbridge Gorge. The collaboration for the publication includes support from WWF UK, the IUCN National Committee UK and World Heritage UK.

The report contains papers from speakers at the workshop, results of some new research on Nature in the UK’s World Heritage Sites and forewords from UNESCO, IUCN and the Mayor of Ripon.

Early bird discounted tickets for the full 4-day conference are still available until the 31st August, after which the price reverts to the full rate, so book now to take advantage of the early bird rate at www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com where you can also find the conference programme and other essential details.

‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference 2017 – registration now open

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Ironbridge- credit thy
‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference
7-10 October 2017
Enginuity, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site 
Early Bird registration now open!
About the conference
The Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham and World Heritage UK have joined forces to hold special four-day international meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site near Telford, Shropshire. The first two days will bring together academics from around the world to discuss research and global policy focusing on the communication of World Heritage Values, from 7-8 October.
This will be followed by the third annual conference of World Heritage UK where practitioners will gather to explore the many ways to communicate World Heritage to different audiences, on 9-10 October.
Together, this joint event will take place at Ironbridge Gorge which, in 1986, became one of the first UK sites to be awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.  The designation of Ironbridge Gorge as a World Heritage Site recognised the area’s unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the impact of which was felt across the world. The surviving built and natural environment with its museums, monuments and artefacts, serve to remind us of this area’s unique contribution to the history and development of industrialised society.
 
About the conference programme:
 
From 7-8 October, the conference sessions will explore heritage research and global policy, drawing its themes from an AHRC Collaborative doctoral research project between the AHRC, IIICH and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust which examines the relationships that World Heritage Sites share with different communities of interest, and how World Heritage Values are communicated with these groups. The sessions will focus on sharing and discussing research undertaken by four PhD candidates from the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) at the University of Birmingham, which taken together comprises 12 years of research on a single World Heritage Site, while placing it in combination with comparative and contrasting case studies presented by researchers and practitioners from around the world. The sessions will focus on the following research themes:
·         Education within the World Heritage Site
·         Specialist Groups & World Heritage: Ironbridge Gorge as an Industrial WHS
·         Tourism within Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
·         The communities of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
 
From 9-10 October, delegates will hear from some of the most influential leaders in Heritage before considering the key audiences to target in a series of session themes which will explore how we can best communicate with ‘Governments and the Public Sector’, talk to ‘Business and Funders’, and address the needs of ‘Young People and Communities’, as well as how we communicate with each other (World Heritage Sites, Europe and the UNESCO family) and with the wider world, including the media.
 
Book your tickets
To see our draft programme, and book your tickets for the conference, please visit our website at:
www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com Don’t forget to take advantage of our early-bird booking discount by 31st August!
If you are attending the conference as a representative of a World Heritage UK Voting Member organisation, that organisation is entitled to ONE free ticket. For this ticket allocation please register via this Eventbrite page:  https://communicatingworldheritage.eventbrite.co.uk
Additional representatives from your Voting Member organisation are welcome to attend the conference at the standard ticket rate using the conference registration link at www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets
We look forward to seeing you there!

Edinburgh Management Plan consultation now open

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Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Consultation is now open for feedback on the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site Management Plan (2017-2022).

During the summer last year, over 1000 people took part in a consultation and gave us their views on how they felt the World Heritage Site is being run. What people told us has shaped the draft Management Plan. The draft Plan sets out a number of actions which will be taken forward by the management partners (City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage).

The consultation will run until 5 June 2017. Please take a moment to share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions using our online survey. You can also download the survey and send comments to worldheritage@edinburgh.gov.uk

Thank you very much for your help,

Chloe

Chloe Porter |Planning Officer| Planning Initiatives|Planning and Transport|Place|

The City of Edinburgh Council |Waverley Court, Level G3, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG| Tel 0131 529 6235 | chloe.porter@edinburgh.gov.uk | http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk

World Heritage in Edinburgh

Planning Inspector supports WHS setting

Bath 2017, Conservation, Management Plan, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, Workshop, World Heritage Sites

BATH SKYLINE FROM ZION HILLThe green setting of Bath is a key attribute of Outstanding Universal Value

Following the World Heritage UK Technical Seminar on planning and World Heritage on 8th March, you may be interested in this recent (18 April 2017) appeal decision from Bath. In dismissing the appeal for 20 dwellings within the WHS, the inspector was convinced by the Council’s policy documents including the WHS Management Plan and the need to protect open hillsides as part of the OUV. We know from discussion in the technical seminar that comparable examples from different sites are considered useful and this example also provides some validation of Bath’s ‘Setting Study’ approach, another hot topic!  The decision can be found here. Please feel free to contact tony_crouch@bathnes.gov.uk for any further detail. 

LIVERPOOL – UK’S FIRST “HERITAGE ROLE MODEL”

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Liverpool- John Hickey-fryLIVERPOOL has become the UK’s first “Heritage Role Model” – after being chosen to help spearhead Europe’s biggest drive to develop historic city centres.

Liverpool is one of ten cities – and the only one in the UK – to successfully bid for 10 million euros of Horizon 2020 funding to examine how cities can use heritage as a powerful engine for economic growth.

Liverpool City Council is to receive just over 400,000 euros from the prestigious ROCK programme (Renewable Heritage in Creative and Knowledge Economies) which will be used to promote the city’s unique assets and develop community engagement around its Mercantile World Heritage Site (WHS) – the results from which will help create a new European strategy.

ROCK funded activities will include initiatives to increase participation such as a citizen/youth board, volunteer programmes and social and wellbeing projects hosted at the Grade I listed St George’s Hall, which will celebrate the 10 anniversary of its £23 refurbishment in April.

This will be coupled with new digital interpretation panels and ‘way finder’ signage to connect the historic waterfront (including the newly established RIBA Centre at Mann Island) to key historic and cultural assets such as the Town Hall, St George’s Hall and the wider St George’s Quarter.

The funding, which is to be to be approved by Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet in February, coincides with a five year review of Liverpool’s WHS which found that £427m has been invested in heritage buildings with a further £245m on site and in the pipeline.

The survey found that 18 listed buildings situated within Liverpool’s WHS have been refurbished/brought back into use since 2012 with council financial assistance, such as the Aloft Hotel, the award-winning Central Library and Stanley Dock. Similar schemes to a further 19 listed buildings within WHS are currently on site.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Receiving this European funding is a huge coup for Liverpool and demonstrates how highly the city is internationally regarded in the way it protects its heritage.

“This funding will allow us to invest in radically improving our marketing and interpretation of our key heritage assets to residents and visitors, which will help further fuel our global appeal and booming tourism economy. 

“The collaboration with such prestigious partners will also provide an invaluable opportunity to exchange best practice with other historic cities such as Athens, Bologna and Lisbon and will put us at Europe’s top table for heritage development.”

It is hoped ROCK heritage pilot activity will form the basis for more substantial initiatives to build on ‘best practice’ across partners, increase heritage participation in all age groups, and improve inclusion and wellbeing.

Knowledge exchange and mentoring will take place across all cities on best practice deployment of sensor technology to monitor and conserve Heritage assets.

The 32 partner project, overseen by the city of Bologna, includes expert representation from UNESCO, United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), European Universities Association (EUA), and URBACT and is the largest of its kind in the H2020 programme.

It is regarded as the pinnacle of international heritage research, the results of which will form the basis for a future European wide strategy linked to RSI3 smart specialisation.